The ski industry has been in a lull, but one segment that continues to grow is alpine touring. So what is it? Think of it as a combination of cross-country and downhill skiing. Alpine tourers skip the lift and get up the hill by their own power.
Typically that means strapping skins to the bottom of skis for traction on the hike up. Once at the top, the skins slip off and get thrown in a pack before the exhilarating ride downhill. Of course, you’ll need different equipment. Our favorites include the Blizzard Zero G Skis (from $720; blizzardsportusa.com), which, thanks to a wood core wrapped with unidirectional carbon fiber, perform like a downhill pair at half the weight.
To rip on piste as well as you do off, mate those to the new Marker Kingpin Binding ($649; markerusa.com), which combines a touring-specific pin toe and a heel that clips in for stability. The Salomon MTN LAB Boot ($950; salomon.com) has a bigger, higher side rivet to help you ski and hike equally well.